Weasels and stoats are not welcome in New Zealand, although they live there. But they’re not native, and as opportunistic and energetic predators they’re particularly dangerous for the few remaining species of indigenous birds, many of which are ground-nesters, having evolved on an island on which there are no native species of mammal except bats, and no snakes at all.
So we shouldn’t have enjoyed seeing a fierce European invader and eater of eggs and nestlings, but we watched this little stoat playing “kill the pine cone” around a heap of cut pine boughs at the edge of a pasture. Its mock-predatory antics were so fast it defied being captured on camera, but when it stopped playing to check us out, E got a shot.
(Photo E. Shock)